Jane Henson’s Fantastic World

Ryan Dosier – This past Thursday, February 24th, I had the incredible opportunity to visit Peoria, Illinois. Now, normally, this would be an exceptionally unincredible thing (especially at the end of February on a day when ten inches of snow is predicted), but on February 24th, the one and only Jane Henson, wife of Jim Henson (duh), was making a special appearance at the Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences. The Lakeview Museum is currently playing host to the wonderful touring exhibit, Jim Henson’s Fantastic World (and will be until May 1st, 2011).

Jane Henson was hanging out in Peoria to present “Look Both Ways,” her special presentation that highlights some of Jim Henson’s earliest great work, including his early Sesame Street counting shorts, Sam & Friends clips (including “Visual Thinking,” “Punsmoke,” and Kermit’s Interview with Huntley and Brinkley), vintage talk show appearances, and concluding with the entire Timepiece.

Mrs. Henson was a delight throughout. She was charming and funny and sweet during the presentation and screening and even after she was great sport to adoring fans coming up to her after the presentation–including myself. I was lucky enough to get a picture with Mrs. Henson and talk to her for a few minutes thanks to president and chief executive of The Jim Henson Legacy, Arthur Novell, who was also present at the screening and was kind enough to introduce me and Lisa the Intern to Mrs. Henson after the screening.

Oh, right, I forgot to mention, Lisa the Intern was there too! The drive was significantly shorter for her… but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to not only meet Jane Henson, but also meet Lisa the Intern in person for the first time. For those of you who don’t know your Muppet Mindset history… Lisa the Intern and I have been online friends and collaborators for nearly six years now, and this past Thursday evening was the first time we had ever met in person. What an event, huh?

Anyhow… if you haven’t yet gotten the chance to see Jim Henson’s Fantastic World and you live within close proximity to Peoria, Illinois, I can’t recommend you going to see this exhibit highly enough. I had not seen the exhibit since it toured in Orlando a few years ago, and I had forgotten how incredible it truly is. There are real Muppets (Kermit, Rowlf, Bert, Ernie, Mahna Mahna, Snowths, King Goshposh, Featherstone, Sir Linit, Wilkins and Wontkins, Gobo Fraggle, Cantus the Minstrel), original Jim Henson sketches, props, photos, and so many other wonderful treasures. It’s a glorious celebration of Jim Henson’s career and there’s no better place for a Muppet fan to visit if you can possibly make the trip.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

2 thoughts on “Jane Henson’s Fantastic World

  1. Awesome – not just the coverage of Jane Henson, who sounds just delightful, but as someone who has known the two of you for years now, I'm so excited you finally met in person, it's been a long time coming!! And gives me hope that I'll someday meet some of the awesome Muppet community peeps too. 🙂

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